Whitireia and WelTec Chief Executive Chris Gosling says the government’s fees-free policy and a new free transport option for students will see a revitalised interest in polytechnic training in the Wellington region as significant barriers to tertiary study are removed. Attending the fees-free operational policy launch earlier this week at Aotea College in Porirua he said it was heartening to hear the Minister of Education and Prime Minister both refer to the expected growth in student numbers for those wanting to enrol in vocational training through polytechnics.
The Government is predicting 50,000 new students will study at polytechnics and other similar training organisations as a result of the fees-free policy says Chris Gosling. "Opening up access to tertiary level study will significantly expand the number of fees-free programmes currently available and mean more choices for students."
Students enrolling on a one year or less programme of study will be able to achieve an entire qualification for free. Others studying at diploma or degree level will benefit immediately with their first year of study being free. 260 Trades Academy students who have just completed their studies, during which they were dual enrolled with their secondary school and with Whitireia or WelTec, are eligible for one year of fees-free study in 2018. We expect high numbers of these students and other secondary school students to enrol under fees-free.
People who are working, or those seeking to re-enter the workforce, will be able to retrain or up-skill if they have not previously studied at a tertiary institution or have not undertaken more than 60 credits at level 3 or above.
"We encourage employers to think about the training options for their staff. There has never been a better time to consider skills development opportunities for staff at no cost. As we specialise in applied vocational education we are ideally placed to meet the training needs of industry," says Chris Gosling.
In 2018, Whitireia and WelTec will be providing a free bus service for students. This new initiative, along with fees-free study, removes two of the key obstacles for many students wanting to study at a tertiary institution – the cost of tuition and the cost of travel.
"We are excited about 2018 and the opportunities fees-free and our new free bus service will provide," says Chris Gosling.